Reading Mike: The Annotated Bailey: Chapter 8, page 149

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Bailey Commentary

[149] 8 Terese and Cher

He did not feel more masculine, but merely put his femininity in the closet.

Jose took a job at the Chicago Board of Options that required him to dress conservatively. During this time, he became depressed. He dreaded waking up and putting on a tie everyday, and hiding his femininity was sufficiently stressful that his hair started falling out. One day at age 19, Jose was brooding about his future. His voice was finally deepening noticeably and he was getting facial hair. He decided that he could not live the rest of his life as a man, even if it meant being abandoned by his family. The next day, Jose began to live full time as a woman, and Terese was born. When she told her friends and family of her decision, her mother expressed relief rather than shock. She had known from early on that Terese’s identity was more feminine than masculine. Only one friend, a gay man, objected to Terese’s decision. He said that she was "selling out," abandoning a gay identity because she could not deal with societal ostracism. (Terese disagrees that this played any part in her decision.)



Terese had learned, over the years, where homosexual transsexuals congregated (primarily gay bars and dance clubs as well as a few small bars that featured female impersonators), and she increasingly frequented those places. She felt more comfortable there, and she discovered that she could benefit from the cumulative knowledge of "girls" in her situation. For example, an important immediate consequence of her transition was her decision to begin taking the female hormone, estrogen, to prevent her body from becoming more masculine, and to feminize it. Other transsexuals told her where she could get estrogen on the black market and how much to take. (This was risky because estrogen can have serious side effects, although the worst ones, such as blood clots, are rare. In Chicago these days, though, most homosexual transsexuals do not bother with official medicine because physicians charge so much and because they are used to living beyond society’s rules.) She also learned about sex reassignment surgery, surgery to change the penis into a neo-vagina: how much surgery cost at different places and which surgeons did the best job.

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